McDonald’s victorious in EU ‘Mac’ dispute

In 2013 MacDonald’s opposed the EU trademark registered by Future Enterprises, based in Singapore, for the name MACCOFFEE for food and drink items such as sandwiches and muffins. The European Intellectual Property Office ruled in their favour and cancelled the registered trademark.

Future Enterprises decided to appeal that decision with the EU General Court who gave their verdict on Tuesday. The court also ruled in favour of MacDonald’s stating that the phonetic similarity of the two marks would cause confusion for consumers as to the source identity of the goods.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the court declared that although the goods provided by the two companies are not identical, they would be similar enough to cause confusion for the consumers in the marketplace.

Future Enterprises now has until September to appeal this decision to the European Court of Justice.

This recent ruling has suggests that the prefixes “Mc” or “Mac” can now only be used by the American fast-food company for food and beverages in the EU and that any other company who tries to trademark a name with them will find themselves involved in an infringement lawsuit.

McDonald’s is very vigilant when it comes down to protecting its brand in the fast food marketplace as well as in other industries. In a recent case the American fast-food giant recently and prevented the trademark registration for a restaurant in Australia under the name ‘McKosher’.  In fact, over the 70 years the company has been trading, it has been involved in countless lawsuits and trademark battles in order to protect it’s famous brand.  

The best way to protect your company’s reputation, brand value and profits in today’s global marketplace is by registering a trademark and gaining trademark enforcement rights. However, just having the trademark is not enough. Like McDonalds you would also need to police your market for potential infringements and then be prepared to act on them when they do arise.

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